Solid Snake

Dtto is a 3D Printed, Self-Configurable Modular Robot


Intended for “search & rescue” missions and sporting a 3D printed body and an Arduino heart, modular robot Dtto wins the Hackaday Prize 2016.

Maker Alberto Molina Perez is the winner of this year’s Hackaday Prize with Dtto, an Arduino-powered robot that can adopt a number of shapes by shifting the position of its 3D printed modules.

How does it work? A coupling mechanism at both ends of each segment allows Dtto to assemble itself in multiple configurations and carry out complex tasks. The segments can chain together to create a snake-like robot, for example, turn into a wheel, and even form a bridge to traverse a gap.

The cool part is that these abilities are accomplished autonomously. The hope is that, with continued development, Dtto’s versatility will enable it to perform “search & rescue” missions or explore uncharted terrain without human oversight.

Check out Dtto in action in the video below:

Dtto Modular Explorer Robot Takes the Prize

Each module consists of two boxes, rounded on one side, linked by a bar.

One half houses all of the electronics, which includes an Arduino Nano, a Bluetooth chip, an NRF2401+ radio transceiver, two SG92R Tower Pro servos for hinging, and three Tower Pro SG90 micro servos for coupling. The other leaves space for additional features like a camera, microphone and speakers, multiple sensors, actuators, or more batteries.

In their announcement of the prize winners, Hackaday judges said that:

“Dtto is groundbreaking in its ability to make modular robots experimentation available to roboticists and hobbiests everywhere by sidestepping what has traditionally been a high-cost undertaking. While it’s easy to dismiss this concept, the multitude of different mechanisms built from modules during testing drives home the power of the system.”

As a grand prize winner, Dtto will receive a reward of $150,000 and a residency at the Supplyframe Design Lab in California. This year’s Hackaday Prize saw over 1,000 entries over five challenge rounds; the theme of the contest was for makers to “Build Something that Matters”.

Elsewhere on the list of winners, another project concerned with 3D printing took fifth place (and a $5,000 prize); Mecharduino is a project to enhance the accuracy and performance of conventional stepper motors with a high accuracy magnetic encoder. Benefits include adding positional awareness, better velocity and torque control, and easier user interaction.

Congrats to all the winners!